Another food experiment: Whole food for a week

Good morning beautiful people, I’ve decided to do a little food experiment and cut off all the processed foods from my (vegan) diet for a whole week. I thought you might want to know that.

By processed food I mean foods that come with too much packaging and that contain ingredients that I can’t pronounce. I’m still having things like soy milk or tofu, which are technically processed foods but they are basically just soy beans and water in a different form.
I’m doing this experiment because I’m trying really really hard to reduce waste, buy in bulk as much as I can and generally have a smaller impact on the planet. I’m also interested in finding ways to help my digestion which is fucked up to say the least.

I’m vlogging my progress and below is Part 1, hopefully I’ll manage to squeeze the rest of the week in Part 2 only but there might be a Part 3 in the event I ramble too much (which is very likely).

Hope you enjoy and you find this helpful, and feel free to let me know what you think! Thanks!

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You are what you wear

Last week I watched The True Cost,  a documentary about how the clothes we wear are made. I’ve been watching countless YouTube videos of people reviewing this documentary, particularly this and this by two ladies who I’ve been following for a while and whom I get inspired from when it comes to veganism, positive mental attitude, and a simple and happy lifestyle in general.
So I sat down with a pen and a notebook, watched The True Cost and took some notes.

I feel like I’ve always been vaguely aware of the Where Clothes Come From issue – as in, I’ve always known that my jeans and t-shirts were mostly sawn in some Third World country far away – but I’d never really given it too much thought. I remember going to the market on a Thursday morning over the summer holidays with my Mum, and rummaging through the piles of clothes she would always check whether they were made in Italy (that’s where we are from). But at the time I wasn’t buying my own clothes (I wasn’t buying any clothes to be honest – I was such a hobo in high school), so the problem didn’t really exist.
I first started to be interested in the fashion industry (HA! I should really re-phrase this. If you know me in real life you know I honestly don’t give a crap about fashion, what I mean is I started to be interested in where clothes come from) when I moved to London and I first set foot into one of the biggest high-street, low-cost shop chains: Primark.
Having lived on a budget since I started uni eleven years ago (WHAT) and throughout my Barely-Making-Enough-Money-For-Food career, I was used to purchasing my clothes at inexpensive high street shops like H&M, Forever21 etc. But Primark was a whole new level of cheapness: Sweaters for £5! Dresses for £10! Tees for £2!
After the first burst of excitement (I can be a student and afford shopping!), I quickly came to the realization that surely this couldn’t be sustainable. How could it be possible to buy a pair of jean shorts for £2 and have a clean conscience that whoever made those jeans was being paid a decent living wage? The answer of course is: it’s not possible.
After my first visit, I avoided Primark like the plague. Apart from the poor quality, unethically produced clothes, the shop itself was constantly crammed with people jumping on top of each other Boxing Day style, it was dirty and smelly, the queues for the fitting rooms were never ending, and overall no mentally sane human being would have wanted to spend more than five seconds in there.
Then in 2013 the Rana Plaza accident happened, and that’s when I first started to actively research where my clothes came from. I already knew about Primark, but I also started to look into those brands I would normally reach for when shopping: H&M, Zara, Forever21, Pull&Bear, Topshop (underwear only).
My overall reaction to finding out the unethical policy behind these fashion corporations was not really to stop buying clothes from them, but to stop buying clothes altogether. For the three years or so during which I was in London working but not making enough money to splurge on shopping, I would only get new clothes as and when I’d go home to Italy and my Mum actually offered to buy stuff for me. I eventually did get a job that allowed me to treat myself a little bit, but even then high street shops were all I could afford, and by then the Rana Plaza incident was already yesterday’s news. So I went back to buying from H&M etc.
Recently I’ve found myself being more and more interested in a whole bunch of environmental issues, from Zero Waste to sustainable food to, yep, how clothes are made. And I wish I’d made better choices in term of shopping even when I didn’t have that much money and cheap, fast fashion seemed the only option.

As The True Cost explains, in the US today only 3% of the clothes sold there are actually made in the US, as opposed to 95% of them back in the 1960s. Each year Americans buy 80 billion pieces of clothing, 400% more than two decades ago.
What’s happening today is that the price of clothes is going down, but the cost is going up. Fashion corporations have the power to dictate the price they want, and can switch among manufacturers until they find the one that agrees to match that price. In order to do so, of course they’ll have to cut on costs, which mainly means lowering employees’ wages.
People in Bangladesh, Malaysia and other developing countries who work in the clothing manufacturing industry have to endure inhuman working conditions: they operate in an unsafe environment, often with no safety features such as fire extinguishers or emergency exits; they are exposed to harmful chemicals that can cause from mental disabilities to cancer; women might find themselves forced to send their children away to live with some distant family in order for them to be provided with a proper education; and all of this while being paid a monthly salary that is way below the minimum wage.
People working in textile fields don’t have it any better. As Christina Dean points out:

Sixty one per cent of China’s groundwater is classified as ‘unfit’ for human contact by China’s Ministry of Environment; 190 million people in China fall ill and 60,000 people die every year from diseases caused by water pollution, of which the textile industry is a major contributor; and cancer rates are reported higher amongst people living near polluted rivers.

Cotton farmers in India also work with toxic pesticides and fertilisers, and face conditions so critical that taking their own lives often seems like the best option. It’s been estimated that the suicide rate among farmers is one every 30 minutes – the highest in history (ref.).

The cause of all this? Fast fashion.
We buy clothes like they are disposable products, thinking they’re going to last us for the coming season and then we are just going to throw them away.
Primark is the emblem of fast fashion. In fact, the very first time I heard about it was when I was studying in Edinburgh, and a friend of mine would regularly travel from there to Glasgow exclusively to visit Primark. She would explain that the clothes were so cheap she wouldn’t feel guilty throwing them away at the end of the season.
We tend to act this way because high street shops are constantly being replenished, so that every time we walk in we see something new and we are tempted to buy more than we need. In H&M, new clothes are coming in every week.
Do we have any idea how wasteful fast fashion is? In the US alone, 37 kg of textiles per person are thrown away every year. That’s 11.1 million tons of clothing that ends up in a landfill (ref.).
And if you’re thinking, Oh but I donate my clothes to charity – Think again. Only 10% of the clothes we donate get sold in thrift stores; the rest end up in landfills in developing countries, mainly because they are not considered good enough to go back in the stores to be sold (ref.).
(There’s also some good news: about 45% of discarded clothes from the US are shipped overseas, where demand for second hand clothes is very high. This helps create jobs for people who can open their own business selling these clothes, a much more affordable alternative to new clothes in developing countries. More good news: fast fashion actually means that we are donating more clothing then ever simply because they get over a trend. Every cloud has a silver lining after all.)

I’m not big on shopping, but I do have quite an extensive wardrobe. Although the majority of my clothes I’ve had forever (I still wear stuff that I’ve owned since high school), this is no excuse for what is in my closet now. After watching The True Cost I went through every single piece of clothing I own to check what was or wasn’t ethically produced, and this is the result.

Trousers
Total: 5 pairs
Ethical: 1 (second hand)
Unethical: 3
Not sure: 1

T-shirts
Total: 43
Ethical: 7
Unethical: 12
Not sure: 24

Sweaters
Total: 29
Ethical: 5, of which 2 handmade and 1 secondhand
Unethical: 15
Not sure: 9

Dresses
Total: 12
Ethical: None
Unethical: 9
Not sure: 3

Items not included: workout clothes, shorts, skirts, pyjamas, tank tops, underwear and stuff in the washing. 

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Conclusion: I suck (and I own way too many clothes). 39 pieces of clothing that I own have been unethically produced. That’s almost half of all the clothes I have (43.8% to be precise – yeah maths!).

I think what we need to understand here is that we as consumer have the power to steer the fashion industry towards a more humane and ethical way to manufacture textiles. The more we buy into fast fashion, the more we are part of the problem. We live in a consumerist world that constantly bombards us with consumption propaganda, and we base our purchase choices on materialistic values that make us believe owning things will make us happy.
But it’s about time we recognise the impact of our consumption. We are the consumers, and we are in charge. 
By refusing to support multinational corporations who don’t respect basic human rights and turning to ethical brands instead, we can make a change. Let’s buy fewer, more durable garments. Let’s recycle, up-cycle, buy local and second hand. Let’s make our clothes last, and let’s make sure we know where what we wear comes from.

These are some of my favourite ethical brands: Patagonia, Prana, American Apparel, Fat Face, People Tree.
And you may also want to check out these cool ladies who cooperated with the making of The True Cost: Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva.

Did I make it?

It’s been about a month since I wrote this post, and I thought I would do a quick recap to see if I managed to stick with my plan for once. Here is what I thought would happen VS what actually happened.

  1. Wake up at 7am, drink a liter of water, and do some stretching while watching a TED Talk
    I woke up at 7am for about two days in a row, switched to 7.30am for another couple of days, than realised I needed way more sleep than that and settled for 8am.
    I stretched for the first week or so then decided that it didn’t add anything to my mental or physical wellbeing and dropped it.
    Drinking water first thing in the morning did work and I’m surprisingly stiking to it. I actually wake up craving water now. I don’t always drink a whole litre and sometimes I don’t drink it first thing in the morning, but I do make a point of getting my water in throughout the morning, as well as staying hydrated during the day as much as I can, and I believe this is what is having the biggest impact on my mental and physical state.
    I only watched TED Talks on the toilet.
  2. Incorporate some fruit in my breakfast
    This is something I was already doing heehee. I haven’t bought a blender yet so I haven’t had any proper breakfast smoothies which are DA BEST, however I’ve been having cereals or porridge normally with kiwis, banana and/or Asian pear. Noms.
  3. Get some fresh air
    Yuppp. I went out every single day except for three occasions: the first day of my period, one day when I wasn’t feeling good, and yesterday – because I quit my job and I was overwhelmed by emotions and I just wanted to stay inside and write and make art.
  4. Work up a sweat every day (gym, run, longboard)
    I definitely didn’t go to the gym every day. I did do quite a lot of longboarding, however I got nowhere near the amount of sweat that I was hoping for. What kept me from exercising regularly was the fact that I got a job at a restaurant which was very physically demanding, and also didn’t leave me much time to hit the gym. The good thing is that I’ve been running around every day at work so that must cound for something right?
  5. Look presentable
    I’m not even going to comment on this.
  6. Keep the house clean
    Yeah I guess. I like living in a clean space so this was nothing new, but I kept it up and it definitely helped my mental clarity.
  7. Be creative (write, draw)
    YES! I’ve been incredibly creative for my standards – and that felt amazing. I’ve completed the first two issues of my zine (which will be available as soon as I’ve got enough money to print everything out), I’ve been posting in here, and I did a lot of journaling, doodling and watercolouring. Being creative makes me feel super accomplished and it’s definitely something I want to keep up.
  8. Drink a litre of water before bed
    This really didn’t work for me. I tried for the first two days, but then I would wake up in the middle of the night to go pee, which is something that NEVER happens to me, and I found it very annoying. What I do like in the evening is a cup of tea (or nine), and I found that I would be too full for it if I’d already drunk a whole litre of water. Drinking tea is what really makes me happy so I’m sticking to that.
  9. Go to sleep at 11pm
    This really got messed up by my job at the restaurant. On weekends we closed at 11pm which meant I was never in bed before midnight. Now that I don’t work there anymore I think I’ll just make sure I get at least 9 hours of sleep because that’s what my body needs.

Overall, I’ve been feeling very good, very bad, and very good again over the past month. The very bad phase was during the two weeks I was working at the restaurant. The working hours really messed up with my daily routine and didn’t allow me to have regular meals at regular times, to drink as much as I needed and to get enough sleep. I’m glad it’s over now because taking care of myself has become a priority for me and I want to make sure my next job allows me enough time and space for that.

I’m really happy I did this little experiment because it really helped me figure out what I need to feel good in my own body and mind. In the coming months I’ll try to exercise more (now it should be doable because I have more free time and even once I start my new job the working hours will be more regular so I will be able to go cruising or hit the gym more consistently). I’m also proud of myself for sticking to a plan for once! Shout out to taking care of your body and mind and be a freaking happy bunny all the time!

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Life update

Hey y’all, in case any of you was wondering why I’m no longer posting as regularly as I used to, the reason is that I got a job. I’ve been working at a restaurant which name I don’t want to disclose in case I get in trouble for something although it’s not that I’m going to through shit at it or anything, but just in case. Let’s just call it The Potato House. I’ve been working at The Potato House here in Wellington for the past couple of weeks. And today I quit. I know, that was fast. But before any of you starts pointing fingers and accusing me of not being able to take it – well, that’s partly true. But the main reason why I quit is that I found another job. Let me sum it up for you.

I applied at The Potato House after about a month of job hunting. Since we settled down in Welly, both Giac and I have been looking for jobs – any jobs. We handed in our CVs in every cafè and restaurant we could find, while also applying for positions at more 9 to 5 kind of office jobs. With a degree in Engineering, from the very beginning it was pretty clear that it would have been way easier for Giac to find a proper job rather than for me, with my Publishing background and my “I want to make art” attitude. But anyway, I did end up getting a job at The Potato House, which I was pretty excited about cos I love The Potato House and I used to go there all the time back in London. (Does this give it away? Well it’s a chain ok?)

I started working and liked it. At the beginning I was doing a bit of everything cos I had to learn and I was being trained as a host, at the bar, as a runner and eventually as a server. There was so much to take in but my colleagues were super nice and supportive at the beginning and that made it easier to get over the bits I didn’t like. However, after the first week I realised that this kind of job just wasn’t for me. I know that before moving to New Zealand I kept on saying I didn’t want to go back to an office job straight away and I’d be looking for more dynamic and active jobs where I could talk to people instead of staring at a screen eight hours a day. But guess what? Turned out I’m not that much of a people person after all. I’m terrible at small talk and have no idea how to entertain guests. In general, what I didn’t like about the job was how unpredictable it was: you can’t plan around it because you don’t know what your next shifts are gonna be like, and for that matter you also don’t have a stable paycheck because that depends on how many hours you work per week. Also, the hours were killing me. In fact, the most difficult thing for me to handle was the fact that my daily schedule was completely messed up. Meal times became random, most days I ended up having dinner at midnight and skipping breakfast the day after because I didn’t digest dinner, and then starving by lunch time, which only happened around 3pm. My stomach is a wreck already and that was not something I could go through with.

I know what you’re thinking: surely you knew all these things before signing the contract? I sure did. I also thought I could handle it. Turned out I can’t. But that’s not the end of the world. I still like The Potato House and will surely go back for dinner soon. In fact, please be aware that THIS IS NOT A RANT AGAINST THE POTATO HOUSE. Any restaurant job is like that. All I’m saying is that this is not for me.

On the positive side, I was lucky enough to meet a bunch of wonderful people with whom I share many interests and I’m overall very grateful for this whole experience. One of them was extremely supportive of my blog and her lovely message made me happy beyond words.

Having said all this, I was able to leave The Potato House because in the meantime I was actually offered another job. I’m not going to disclose much about it just yet, but let’s just say it’s a position that I’m sure will suit me better in a company whose values I resonate with more.
All these recent changes got me thinking. I see more and more people quitting their jobs to do what they love – which is great. I think if you have the privilege to be in a position that allows you to go and follow your passions, you’re the luckiest person in the world.
I’m happy about my new position because I believe it will allow me to keep some mental space to dedicate to my own interests (this blog, my zine, my art, writing in general). I also have the privilege to do what I love, and I’m aware of that. I’ll make my best to never take it from granted.

Conclusion: Change is ok. Do what you love. Make sure you find a job that reflects your passions and your values, and that also leaves you enough time and space to keep up with your passions. The world is full of opportunities and it’s up to us to make the most out of them.

Sick and subversive

Yesterday I woke up feeling a cold coming, I had a job interview for a position that I don’t particularly want, I went to the gym only to discover that I’d forgotten my shoes, and I spent the rest of the day wrapped in a blanket whining and being a general pain in the butt.
I don’t have a job and I also currently don’t have much will to live, however if there’s something I do have it’s time. Today I don’t feel any better, so I decided to not waste another day complaining about my maladies but to do something productive instead. So I came to the library and did some research on palm oil.

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Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit. It is the cheapest vegetable oil in the world, and a huge source of profits for multinational corporations who make a profit at the expenses of the environment, the native people, and the wildlife of the rain forest in South East Asia.
The palm oil industry is one of the most environmental offenders on the planet. It is one of the main causes of deforestation, carbon dioxide emissions, and decline of endangered wildlife.
After reading this article and many more, I hereby argue that the palm oil industry affects the entire planet. Palm oil is bad for the environment, bad for the animas, bad for the people, and bad for you.

1. The environment

In 2015, over 62,000 square miles around the world were committed to pail oil plantation (ref). 85% of the world palm oil supply comes from South East Asia (Malaysia and Indonesia). In Sumatra, 80% of the rain forest is gone – burned to the ground to generate space for palm oil plantations.
As explained in Before the Flood, Indonesia is one of the most corrupted countries in the world. Colossal companies such as Pepsi, Kellogg’s, L’Oréal, Procter&Gamble and many more are able to make profit by bribing the government to issue a permit for them to burn the land. So far there are no restrictions or regulation from the governments to prevent these corporations from doing what they’re doing.
The biggest damage palm oil plantations are causing is a dangerously large amount of carbon dioxide emissions. The video mentioned above explains that Indonesia peat lands store about 35 billion tonnes of carbon. When the land is burned to create space for plantations, that carbon is released into the atmosphere. In 2015, fires added more than 2 billion tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Normally, trees would absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, but if we set fire to the forests we release carbon back into the atmosphere, meaning we are producing excessive emissions and destroying the only natural filters we have at the same time.

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2. The People

An estimated 3.5 million people work in the palm oil industry. While providing employment can be favourable in Third World countries, the expansion of the palm oil industry often means that these people have no choice but to work for it – at a potentially high cost.
Human rights abuse is a daily occurrence in the palm oil industry: workers are forced to operate in an unhealthy environment with inadequate safety equipment, climbing up trees and spraying pesticides that cause health damages. They are underpaid and have no medical coverage or any other benefits. Child labour is not uncommon.
Working in the palm oil industry often translates to modern day slavery.

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3. The animals

Indonesia is home to 15% of all known species of birds, plants and mammals. The Leuser ecosystem is “the last place on Earth that still has elephant, rhino, orangutan and tiger together in the wild” (ref).
However, both the Sumatran tiger and Sumatran rhino are now facing the threaten of extinction. In Borneo, the orangutan population has decreased by 50% in the past 65 years.
It is CRAZY to me that people would go so far as to decimate another species for their own interest. It is shocking and outrageous and unbelievable that humans would consider it to be ok to erase other living creatures from their natural habitat. The idea that our successors might not be able to ever get to see tigers, rhinos, and other majestic creatures because we have wiped them out of this world fills me with guilt and shame.
Anyway. The good news is, there are organisations like PanEco which, through their conservation programme, are doing a great job at preventing the orangis from dying out and protecting their habitat.

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4. Our health

As every other oil, palm oil should be consumed in moderation. That said, palm oil does have some health benefits: it reduces blood pressure as well as the risk of arterial thrombosis,  it doesn’t contain artery-clogging trans fats and it’s rich in natural antioxidants, including vitamins A and E. However, this is true of palm oil only when consumed as a fresh food.
Turns out that palm oil that hasn’t been heavily refined is very hard to get hold of: the palm oil that we normally consume is oxidised (or processed). Such palm oil is high in saturated fats – in fact, it contains as much saturated fats as butter. Saturated fats are considered to be the most detrimental to human health. Palm oil is particularly rich in palmitic acid, which is one of the fats most likely to cause cholesterol clumps in arteries.
As this article explains, “palm oil causes low-grade inflammation that is linked to insulin resistance, obesity and other metabolic diseases that are partially mediated by our resident gut microbes.”
A research on mice showed that “compared to a high-fat diet formulated with either milk fat, rapeseed oil, or sunflower oil, one that includes palm oil resulted in higher inflammation in plasma and adipose tissue” (ref).
Processed palm oil poses health dangers such as reproductive toxicity and organ toxicity, impacting organs such as the heart, kidneys , liver and lungs.
Finally, according to this article, “the refining process depletes many of the nutrients that occur naturally in the oil and also makes the oil much more difficult to digest” – but at this point this is probably the last of our problems.

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Palm oil is virtually everywhere: processed foods, chocolate bars, crackers, margarines, soups, as well as non-food products such as soaps, deodorants, detergents and cosmetics.
The problem is, palm oil is not always easy to spot. Often disguised under as many as 200 other names, it can be tricky for consumers to identify it, especially when you think that “under current European legislation, companies are under no obligation to state whether or not their products contain palm oil specifically, as it currently permits palm oil to be stated in the ingredients as ‘vegetable oil’” (ref). (I’m not sure about regulations in the US, the UK and other parts of the world.)
Most of the time consumers don’t think about what’s in the food or products they buy. How often do you take the time to read the ingredient label at the supermarket? (Unless you’re a vegan, heehee.) But checking what’s in what you buy is the first step towards being more informed and aware of your choices.
Educating yourself is critical. This might sound like an overwhelming issue, but it’s one that can – and has to – be addressed by us as individuals. As individuals, we can stop this. Every time we buy, eat or consume a particular product, we have the power to choose whether we want to support the palm oil industry or not. The decisions that we make on a day-to-day basis in the comfort of our household have an impact on the other side of the world: they affect the ecosystem, the people, and ultimately the whole planet.

You can check whether your favourite products contain palm oil or not here and here.
Also have a look at what the WWF and the Union of Concerned Scientists have to say on the matter, and test your knowledge on palm oil on TakePart.

 

You’ve got something on your face

Last night I was home alone, so what better occasion to finally enjoy some me time. I made myself a cup of tea, did some writing, and of course spread an old good face mask on my face.
I used to be big on face masks, however I had to downsize quite a lot in preparation to my move to New Zealand, and only a few favourites made it to the other side. So I thought I’d do a little review of my top four (as many as I have right now) face masks, from least favourite – but still awesome – to my very personal best.
Needless to say all of these are vegan and not tested on any fluffy bunnies.

 

Plastic medal: Dr. Organic Bio-Plasma Mud Mask (find it here)

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What it is: A detoxifying, rejuvenating clay mask that aims to purify your skin and promote epidermis health.
What it looks like: A grey/brownish sticky paste.
Why I picked it up: My mum told me great things about dead sea clay so when I bumped into this mask at Holland & Barrett back in London I decided to give it a go. It’s supposed to help minimise pores as well which is always a plus.
Smell: I guess it smells of clay? (What does clay smell like?)
Consistency: Muddy. This is the kind of mask that gets hard on your skin  as it dries, so make sure you assume an acceptable facial expression when you put it on cos you won’t be able to change it five minutes in.
To remove it, I think ideally you want to wipe your face clean with a warm cloth, but ain’t nobody got time for that. I normally just deep cleanse my face with warm water.
Final verdict: I didn’t notice any difference on my skin but I will admit I don’t use this mask regularly. I still enjoy applying it from time to time as it makes my skin feel clean and my pores are happy.

 

Bronze medal: Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque (find it here)

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What it is: Specifically for oily and acne-prone skin, this mask aims at absorbing excess oils, extract impurities and help minimise the appearance of pores, “for an oil-free feel and a healthy-looking complexion”.
What it looks like: A very thick green paste.
Why I picked it up: A couple of years ago I suffered from severe acne. This was surprising (and annoying), considering I was in my late twenties and had happily survived a pimple-free adolescence. I surely thought I’d got away with it. Anyway, it was hard for me to find products that worked as I had both acne and dry skin, a rare combination as it’s more common for acne to be associated with oily skin. So I did some research, bumped into this video, and decided Queen Helene was worth a try. Although this is specifically for oily skin, it works wonders on my dry face – as long as I make sure to always moisturise afterwards.
Smell: Balmy and very refreshing. I have to stop myself from eating it.
Consistency: Very thick. This also gets solid as it dries, although not as much as the clay mask.
Final verdict: I got rid of my acne but I don’t think it was thanks to this face mask. I still use it about every other week, as I like that it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and impurity-free.

 

Silver medal: Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (find it here)

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What it is: An overnight replentishing mask packed with apricot kernel oil, mango butters, Japanese seaweed and avocado goodness, to refresh, moisturise and nourish your pretty skin. (This is technically not a mask as you don’t have to wash it off, but it’s called a mask so it made it to the chart.)
What it looks like: A white cream.
Why I picked it up: I really like Origins products, and after I saw this particular face mask once in my friend’s bathroom and smelled it, I knew I had to have it. I picked it up at Vancouver airport a couple of years ago because it was mega cheap, and yeah I still haven’t finished it. Bargain!
Smell: APRICOT. Aaaaah so good. This almost made it to the first place just because of the smell. Aaaaah.
Consistency: Creamy for a face mask, firm for a face cream.
Final verdict: I LOVE this product. Too bad for what follows…

DISCLAIMER: I just discovered that Origins tests on animals. I was pretty sure that the brand was vegan, however I quickly googled it and it turned out that, although on their website they claim to be “committed to the elimination of animal testing”, they also sell in China, where it’s required by law to test the safety of products on animals (reference). Plus Origins is apparently owned by Estee Lauder, so no surprise here. Damn. No more Origins for me.

 

Gold medal: Lush Mask of Magnaminty (find it here)

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What it is: A peppermint-based face mask that fights eruptions and outbreaks. Ideal for dry skin as it’s packed with aduki beans for exfoliation, this mask deep cleans your skin and leaves it with a tingly yet soothing sensation.
What it looks like: An olive green grainy paste (see above).
Why I picked it up: Because. LUSH. I mean. Employees at Lush are always mega helpful, and when I asked for something that could soothe my dry skin I was immediately recommended this face mask. Best purchase of my life.
Smell: Minty and tingly. Yum.
Consistency: Thick and grainy. It will change colour once applied and get a bit dry.
Final verdict: I use this mask once a week and I love the feeling on my skin afterwards. I must have been through at least five tabs since I first discovered it.

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Here’s a very jetlagged me back from two weeks in Canada/PNW. Putting on this mask was the first thing I did before I slept for two days straight.

 

The following are also worth mentioning as they used to be on my fav list but either I finished them before moving to NZ or I decided to donate them to friends and make someone else happy.

  • Clearasil Daily Clear Vitamins & Extracts Scrub (find it here)
    This can be used either as a face wash or as a face mask. I only used it as a face mask and was very happy with it although it’s a bit too sticky and messy to wash off.)
  • Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay – Deep Pore Cleansing (find it here)
    WOW, when they say you’ll feel your face pulsate they surely know what they are talking about. If you want to REALLY deep clean your skin, this face mask is for you. A bit messy to use because you have to mix it with apple cider vinegar which smells awful, but if you survive the stench you’ll be left with the smoothest skin you can ever imagine.

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  • Lush Don’t Look at Me (find it here)
    THIS IS BLUE AND IT SMELLS LIKE THE OCEAN. It feels salty and summery and oceany and I love it. Can’t wait to get a job so I can stock up.

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For better results remember to always test your face mask on a smaller portion of skin before applying it for the first time. Trust me, you don’t want to have your whole face covered in it and THEN find out it gives you an allergic reaction.